I discovered while on vacation at my parents’ place that they have some Amar Chitra Katha comics that I’ve either never read, or forgotten about. Hours of fun!

This one retells, in a somewhat scattered and hectic manner, the story of Rana Kumbha, the Rajput ruler of Mewar in the mid 1400s.

It begins with three treacherous officers plotting the assassination of Kubha’s father.

Traitor # 1: “The Rana has insulted us. Some time ago, in the presence of all the chiefs, he pointed to a tree and asked me what it was called.”

Traitor # 2: “He wanted to remind us that our grandfather was a carpenter.”

In the next 18 pages, traitors attack, Kumbha’s step-mother grabs a sword and fights to the death, his father is also killed, he escapes, there is a thrilling horseback chase, another king flings his turban on the ground and vows to wear only a simple head-dress “till this foul deed is avenged” (I could not for the life of me see a difference between the turban (pugri) and head-dress (phenta) as drawn), a lioness attacks, a sneak attack on a fort is nearly foiled when the drummer trips and drops his drum, a traitor is killed in his tent (“Yes! I am here to avenge the murder of Rana Mokal.” “Aargh!”), another traitor disguises himself as a woman to escape and then leaps from a very high cliff while riding a horse, and there’s a huge battle.

As I said… in 18 pages! If you have never read Amar Chitra Katha comics, you are really missing out. They are very easily and inexpensively available from their website.

The rest of the story, despite several more battles is a bit anti-climactic. Especially when after multiple dramatic vows to not rest until the final traitor is brought to justice, his fate is revealed in a footnote saying, “Years later, Mahpa sought and obtained Kumbha’s pardon.” Also, Kumbha has no personality. But the very eventful first half makes it all worthwhile.

Script by Jagjit Uppal. Art by H. S. Chavan & Dilip Kadam
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